Bay Windows Vs. Bow Windows: What’s the Difference?

When designing or renovating your home or office, many design questions always come to mind. Some revolve around paint color selection or an appropriate means of lighting. Other inquiries are focused on carpeting versus flooring or effective ways to reduce energy bills. Selecting a window is another topic of debate homeowners frequently find themselves entrenched in. Many have heard of bay and bow windows, but many more are unsure that the two types of windows are different and furthermore how they contrast. Here is how it all breaks down:

Bay WindowBay Windows
Bay Windows are composed of three window panes, often varying in size and sometimes even shape. The typical formation of a bay window is comprised of one large window flanked by two smaller windows. Bay windows are designed to give a panoramic view and often extend outward from the house. In terms of placement, the two “flankers” are often double hung from the wall at a more acute thirty or forty degree angle to allow adequate ventilation.

Bay windows often grant a larger and unobstructed view, largely in part to an immense central window. In addition, these windows impose significant changes in lighting, allowing for a room to be encompassed by sunlight thanks to rather inviting panes featured on these apertures. In some instances, a sitting area can actually be constructed along with placement of the window itself, allowing for anyone to surround themselves in the panorama. This can be commonly found in older Colonial or Victorian style homes.

Bow WindowBow Windows
Bow windows differ from Bay Windows in that they are composed of three to six smaller windows of equal size. Bow windows are far contrasting in style and overall presentation and aesthetic. These windows are hung at more extreme angles and as a result ventilate entirely different.  In fact, bow windows can provide more ventilation than bay windows. On the converse, bow windows offer a less unobstructed view in comparison to a bay window. Furthermore, the labor costs and requirements for these apertures are far greater than that of a bay window, necessitating the use of more elaborate forms of hardware. Traditionally, bow windows are offered in three styles of placement: casement, single hung or double hung.

Both forms of windows offer upside to homeowners. From a real estate perspective, both bay and bow windows are known to increase the value of a home, and are regarded as both a cosmetic and functional home improvement. Owners can enhance the value of this investment by utilizing the best solutions for these window types. Installing energy efficient glass, reinforced and durable fiberglass panes or acrylic coating can enhance the value and overall performance of these windows in the harshest condition. Furthermore, this will also give any home a refined and robust touch.

Regardless of preference, bay and bow windows both offer upside to any homeowner looking to invest in a renovation or improvement project. Whether it’s a simple unobstructed view or a larger more ventilated approach, bay or bow windows are a great addition to any home.

Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Marvin Windows NJblog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.

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